APOCALYPSE 13
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Chapter 13 - A beast rises out of the sea with seven heads and ten crowned horns. One head had been killed but comes back to life. On his head is the name of blasphemy. The dragon gives to this beast a place, power and authority. The whole world worships the dragon and the beast. The beast is given a mouth, speaking great things, blaspheming God. He is given power to make war against the saints for 42 months, which is 1260 days.

This is a perfect representation of the situation in Rome, following the fall of the Western Empire in 476. The Goths ruled Rome and Italy until 535 AD. Between 530 and 550, the Eastern emperor, Justinian reconquered all North Africa and Italy. This was the beginning of the healing, or rebirth, of the sixth imperial head of Rome. It came to its completion under Charlemagne - the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire.

In 535, Justinian proclaimed the bishop of Rome as the primary bishop of the church, settling the controversy between the bishops of Constantinople and of Rome. This was at the time that he was beginning to reconquer Italy and Africa. This is the official beginning of the Papacy - the beginning of the dragon, the imperial power, now moved to Constantinople - of giving power to the new Roman beast that is arising from the old fallen Western Empire. Justinian represents the continuity of the dragon, which has moved to the east to Constantinople, and he, as the dragon, is beginning to build up or give power to the beast, the new Roman beast (which is not exactly new, because it is the rebirth of the old, but its new historically at this time.)

In 610, 75 years later, the famous decree of the Emperor Phocas made the Pope the supreme head of the church. The dragon had now given the beast full spiritual power in the Empire. The Papacy, as we know it, had now begun. His 42 months, or 1260 years, of persecuting power, which began at this time (610), ended in 1870, when the new kingdom of Italy took away all his lands around Rome and shut him up in the Vatican. There was a 75-year rise at the beginning and a 75-year decline at the end, as we shall see as we examine the history in detail.

Verse 8 - "And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life."

Here is the great lesson for us. This is a Roman and a Catholic world, far more than the blind world realizes. The world is permeated with the corruption of Catholicism. Many of its customs and most of its festivals have Catholic roots. Those who are written in the book of life will eschew them like a deadly plague.

Verse 11 - "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon."

The previous beast (verse 1) had arisen out of the sea. When used in contrast, the sea represents the Mediterranean area and the earth the inland portions of north Europe. Soon after Phocas, around the year 600, the Arabian invasions began, and the Eastern Empire lost Africa and the Mid-East. (Africa had been reconquered by Justinian.) Thus weakened, the Eastern Empire could not hold Italy against the new invader - the Lombards, who were anti-trinitarian and anti-papal Arians.

But in the early 700's, a new champion of the Papacy arose in north Europe - the Franks. (Here is the beginning of the earth beast.) Between 750 and 800, the Franks conquered Italy and most of Europe. On Christmas day in Rome in the year 800, the Pope crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Roman Emperor. The deadly wound was now healed. The two-horned beast - Pope and Emperor - now began. This was thereafter the basic constitution of Europe for exactly 1000 years, until Napoleon by the vials of the 16th chapter destroyed the Holy Roman Empire in 1800 AD.

Verse 14 - The earth beast creates the image of the beast and commands all the earth to worship it upon pain of death. The Franks gave the Pope the papal state, a little kingdom of his own - all central Italy, and the Papacy became the image of an empire with all imperial pomp and pretension, claiming absolute spiritual dominion of the whole world. This chapter ends with the mark and the number of that beast for identification - 666.

Bro Growcott - Review of the Apocalypse


18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666.

It is a wonderful vision, inasmuch as it reveals warnings and exhortations to the believers down the ages, being appropriate for every age and generation. Though there might be persecution and political death for a time (cp. ch. 13:7), there would remain a faithful remnant that will remain free from the mark of the Beast. It is "wisdom" to recognise the number of the beast (v. 18), and that wisdom is given to those who understand the true nature of the Apocalypse. - GEM, Logos.